Faithlife Sermons

The Partnership



Think about all the partnerships you have been or are in.
Friends in Granger, IN opened a coffee shop. They didn’t have any money so they partnered w/ a man who had it.
He had the money, our friends had the knowledge.
Money partner didn’t tell coffee shop partner how to run the coffee shop. Likewise, coffee shop partner didn’t tell money partner how to invest his money.
When the economy turned south in 2008-09, money partner pulled out. Nothing our friends could do. They closed the bsns.
A soon as one pulled out, no more partnership.
Family is a partnership. No just mom and dad, but kids, too.
We were a family of 5 ran our family as a partnership. Everyone had responsibilities and reaped benefits.
It was not an equal partnership.
Each of my kids had 1 vote.
Sara and I each had 10.
In one sense we’re all equal w/ different roles.
Those roles define the inequality of our votes
When the kids protested my response simply: What’s your last name? What’s mine?
What are the benefits of being a Bowyer?
Vacations, clean warm house, love, etc.
What are the responsibilities?
Chores, healthy habits, respect, etc.
Reminding them of the benefits eased their frustration but never made it go away.
Not fair! Life’s not fair. Get used to it.
Marriage & Family
Boards & Committees
Memberships: Church, Club
Citizenship: USA, AZ, Coconino, MP: Taxes, run for offices, participate in associations.
We hire fire-fighters to protect us. But we pay taxes and have a fire board so that we can have fire-fighters.
This church pays me a salary to lead the church. Everyone has to participate in the offering so we spread the financial responsibility out. And, members vote on a board to oversee what I do.
Partnerships. Everyone has responsibilities, different responsibilities. And everyone reaps benefits.
Encounter God, discover His character, benefit from the characteristics, and be changed by taking them on yourself.
If everybody in MP holed up in their house or cabin this community would collapse, AZ and USA, too.
We partner together to make it happen.
There are partnerships where everyone is equal and partnerships where they are not.
God, from creation, established a partnership w/ people.
The partnership is real, but definitely not equal.
God does not need us.
That said, He gives us the opportunity to have responsibility and reap benefits in His program.
God creates, we participate.
All we have to do is believe it and believe in Him.
He tells us what to do, how to do it, gives the specific abilities to get it done, then, rewards us for the successful accomplishment.
We don’t deserve the opportunity.
And then, He rewards us for using what He gave us to do what He tells us.
He lovingly disciplines those who believe and fail.
He angrily judges those who don’t and fail. (Wrath)
This partnership has evolved thru covenants, contracts.
There have been 5 major covenants.
Many lesser covenants.
A covenant or contract is an agreement between 2 parties.
In this case God and people.
In one case both parties had responsibilities and in the others only one did.
God agreed that no matter how the people acted, God would uphold His end of the contract, covenant.
In a contract to buy a car both parties have responsibility. One brings money and the other brings the car.
In a contract to donate a car only one party has responsibility. Bring the car and give it to the other party.
Donate to the church. Whatever the church does w/ it doesn’t matter. Give it to someone, raffle it, whatever.
Why am I talking about all this?
I’ve taught thru the major lessons in 1 Samuel and a few chapters into 2 Samuel (they used t/b one book) God establishes a covenant w/ David.
Rather than just teach the covenant w/ David, I’m going to show how our partnership w/ God evolved thru all the covenants from the beginning of time to the end.
That way we can all recognize the benefit of the partnership that God established w/ us.
We’re going to start in the very beginning. Back to Adam and Eve and their introduction in Eden.


Genesis 3:15–17 NIV
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
Genesis 2:15–17 NIV
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Here is where God first established the partnership. He created a good place and put people in it to work and produce all of its good potential.
It was perfect. Ideal. Location, relation.


Work the garden
Work is a gift from God. Invest energy and effort. Get your heart rate up. Work your brain and your muscles.
Accomplish good things.
Till the soil, plant the seeds, prune the branches, harvest the fruit.
God provided the climate that would produce the fruit


Eat from every tree, bush, and plant. Enjoy
Don’t get fat. Creativity.
God Himself walked thru the Garden from time to time.
Jesus. Personal relationship.
No conflict between the people and God.
I’m sure the people had conflict.
We don’t need a sin nature to conflict.
But, it would be resolved w/out trouble.
Selfishness, but no Enemy to feed the egos.
Until later...

1 Rule

Except this one tree. Every other plant is available to eat its fruit. Just not this one.
Other implied and maybe talked about.
But only 1 prohibition. Not this tree.
Among those theological questions that people w/ way too much time on their hands like to debate, such as, “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?”
Also, this one, “How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden before they sinned?”
2 hours?
2 days?
2 weeks?
Not too long.
Evil, wickedness entered the picture.
All this perfection came to an end. Everything changed.
They hid from God. They were ashamed.
Naked, embarrassed, guilty.
For the first time they experienced death. God killed an animal to provide clothing and cover their shame. Adding to their guilt.
This was just the beginning of how death would impact them.
Then, God kicked them out of the Garden. Their failure cost them dearly.
The partnership didn’t end, it evolved. God reestablished the partnership outside the Garden.
They still had to farm and raise their own food. But, consequences of their sin introduced bugs and weeds to the process. It was much harder. It was toil.
Cain killed Abel and evil began to spread like a plague.
The partnership, never in jeopardy, but strained.
The idea that evil was limited to just a few is wrong. It was everybody. As generations passed God looked at the earth and the thousands of people. There was only 1 man who showed any faith.
So, God acted to destroy all the wickedness on the earth.
It caught up every family but one and every animal but 2 of every species.
God sent a flood but saved everybody on the Ark.
Then, after the flood God made a promise. This is the covenant He est’d w/ Noah.
The Noahic Covenant. The first of the 5 major covenants God established w/ people.


The Noahic Covenant. The first of 5 major covenants
Genesis 9:11 NIV
I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
God gave the promise to Noah, but it’s for all of us. He will never destroy the earth with a flood ever again.
This was a unilateral covenant. Only God had responsibility.
It didn’t matter how good or bad people were going to be.
Once again God reestablished the partnership w/ Noah and his family.
It’s not that evil and wickedness are going away.
God knew He only destroyed all the people in the flood.
Once Noah’s family began having children wickedness ad evil returned into the picture.
This covenant is still in effect today.
The partnership didn’t end, it changed.
The partnership didn’t end, it changed.
Repopulate the earth.
So when Noah warned the people that water was going to fall from the sky. it was just another reason for them to think he’s crazy.
But, after the flood, God would control the climate to produce for people.
Work the land and eat the fruit.
Also, prior to the flood every person and animal on earth was vegetarian. No meat. One way the all survived on the Ark.
After the flood, God gave people and animals permission and the desire to eat each other.
Wickedness and evil permeated the earth.
God needed something besides a flood to get people’s attention.
Last time God chose a man and his family and destroyed everyone else. Noah.
This time God chose a man and His family w/out destroying everyone else.
His plan was that this family would be a example for everyone else of the benefits of the partnership based on faith and walking w/ God.
God chose Abraham and made a covenant w/ him.
The Abrahamic covenant is the 2nd major covenant.


Genesis 12:1–3 NIV
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
The entire world had come to ignore the partnership they had w/ God.
As if by ignoring it, it wouldn’t be true or it would go away.
Belief doesn’t determine truth.
The truth is God established this partnership whether anyone believes it or not.
God chose Abraham and His promise to him had 3 parts:
Descendants as numerous as the stars
And, thru his family the entire world, all the people of the earth will be blessed.
The entire world would be blessed thru his family.
This also is a unilateral covenant. Only God has responsibility in this one. He will make it happen no matter how Abraham, his family, and everyone else respond to God.
The whole point of this contract is to provide an example to the world, role models of what our partnership w/ God is like. The responsibilities and benefits would be tangible for everyone around the world to see.
And, if they would just take the time to consider they would see that every alternative is a worse situation.
This covenant is still in force today. There are too many Jews to count around the world. And, the land is still theirs. Though, surrounding nations have their occupied space down to a fraction of what it once was.
The reason why has to do w/ the 3rd major covenant.
This is the Mosaic covenant. The promise God made to Moses as he led Israel out of Egypt.


Exodus 19:5–6 NIV
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
So, the covenant w/ Abraham gave his family the land.
It didn’t solve the problem of wickedness, unfaithfulness.
The problem was there was evil in the family.
Abraham had Isaac, after after acting on his own to have Ishmael.
Isaac had Jacob.
Jacob had 12 sons after deceiving his brother Esau.
10 of his sons plotted to kill the 11th.
That led to Joseph being in Egypt as Pharaoh’s #2. The 2nd most powerful man in the world.
If ever there was proof this partnership w/ God would never end it’s the process Joseph went thru to save his family after his family sold him into slavery.
B/C there was a severe famine in the land Joseph made arrangements for his entire family to leave the land God provided and settle in Egypt.
Should they have moved? Debatable. God would have provided for them and protected them in the land but Egypt was a logical destination.
W/ God, logic isn’t always applicable.
They didn’t return to the land for over 200 years. Definitely a mistake.
They grew into a great nation in Egypt, 2 million people just as God had promised Abraham.
But, the Egyptians grew afraid of what they might do if they organized. So, they enslaved Israel.
That’s when God raised up Moses to lead them out.
The plagues, all first-born Egyptians die, Passover, Egypt pays them to leave, the sea parts and they walk thru, it collapses on the Egyptian army. Israel is safe and on their way back to the PL.
Isreal gets a do-over in PL.
God reestablishes the partnership on the way to the PL.
But what to do about evil?
Just after the parting of the Sea. Moses goes up on Mt. Sinai where God gives him the 10 commandments.
10 rules to live by.
Which Israel promptly disregarded and disobeyed.
God, gracious as He is, gave them another chance.
There were consequences, however. Rather than making a bee line to the PL they had to wander for 40 years. And, this entire group who left Egypt would die during this time.
2 million funerals.
The next generation would enter the land, led by Joshua.
God gave Moses further details and specifications to the rules to live by. Details about how to worship and the sacrificial system. And details about how to get along and function as a society.
This society, nation would be the example to the world. Not just a person or a family.
They had all the information and knowledge they needed to succeed in the PL.
Now, this society, this nation would be an example to the world. Not just a man or his family.
And, if anyone in the world is paying attention, they would realize their life is worse off than those who partner w/ God.
That’s the theory.
They would want to join. They could become Jewish, by faith. Then, join in the actions of keeping the law that those who believe practiced.
This covenant God made w/ Moses was the only bilateral agreement w/ people. That is, it was conditional. Both parties had responsibilities.
IOW: As long as the people in partnership w/ God lived faithfully and obediently God would let them stay in the land and it would produce and He would protect them.
If the ppl didn’t, then He wouldn’t.
And, they didn’t. So, neither did He.
All of the temple process pointed to, led to, the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
So, this covenant ended w/ the death of Jesus. It’s no longer in force.
Otherwise, we’d still be sacrificing animals.
Jesus and the NT writers did, however, repeat all 10 commandments.
Only 1 God, no images or idols.
No adultery. No murder. don’t steal.
Sabbath rest is in heaven.
So, we still observe the 10 commandments, including Sabbath rest when we get to heaven, but w/out the covenant still in force.
What about evil, unfaithfulness, disobedience, sin?
None of the laws prevented anyone from breaking them. If they did anything they made people aware of the laws they were breaking.
All along it was a relationship w/ God combined w/ knowing what He expected from them kept them from breaking the law.
The relationship w/ God was the answer to evil. But, the ppl focused on the laws.
Once again, the partnership was strained b/c of the lack of faith of the people. Not in jeopardy, but God needed to do something different.
Something that would take the people’s focus off the law and back onto the relationship like the one Adam and Eve had in the Garden.
A flood didn’t work, a family didn’t work, laws didn’t work.
Now, He tries an individual, a king. A king who would have that relationship w/ God and lead the people wisely, faithfully, and by example.


2 Samuel 7:
2 Samuel 7:12–17 NIV
When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ” Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.
While the priest was responsible for the spiritual condition of the king and the people, the king led the people.
While the priest was responsible for the spiritual condition of the king and the people, the king led the people.
God had his contact person, direct report. He would interact w/ the one who would lead the ppl.
This was a unilateral covenant. Still in force today. The throne of David is reserved for a descendant of his.
You’ll notice there is no king in Israel today. The next One to sit on the throne will be a direct descendant, Jesus.
Knowing that his children’s children would let wickedness take over again, God made this promise anyway.
The promise to David was his kingdom would grow and they would all look to him, then his descendants to lead them faithfully and obediently.
And outsiders would want in.
The problem was, not only did David do evil, his son Solomon started out great but became horribly unfaithful at the end of his life. And his children were so evil it lead to a civil war and Israel was divided in two.
Successive kings of both sides progressively grew worse and worse. There was the occasional king who would return to God but w/ a generation or two they would be back to their evil ways.
Corrupt kings led Israel and wickedness became a defining characteristic.
Again, the partnership is strained, but still in tact.
God had to do something new. None of these covenants worked to keep the people believing, faithful, obedient.
As it all collapsed one more time, God did something completely new.


Jeremiah 31:31–34 NIV
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
The promise given to Jeremiah was a unilateral promise. God knew the people would not hold up their end of any agreement and they needed a Messiah, Savior to believe in.
Jesus is a descendant of Abraham and David.
He is the source of the blessing to every nation promised to Abraham and Heir to David’s throne.
He is the King who will perfectly lead the people in faith and obedience.
His death on the cross freed us from the power and grip of wickedness. And, in the end he will do what the flood couldn’t. Jesus will eventually destroy wickedness, not just all the people afflicted w/ it.
He kept the law perfectly and fulfilled it completely. Every sacrificial act in Israel’s legal worship was symbolic of what Jesus would do to make a relationship between God and people possible again.
Faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the person. Reminding, teaching, counseling, and guiding.
Partially fulfilled at His first coming, finished and completely fulfilled at His second coming. There will be no unbelievers left to enter his Kingdom.
Wickedness is finally dealt w/ The partnership still in tact. At the very end when the new earth is established people will be given the responsibility to work the land and draw out all the potential goodness God provides.
All of this has been to help people recognize the benefit of the partnership w/ God.
But, in each era, as evil creeps in and takes over then the people’s pride overrides our faith.
We’re disciplined or judged for our disobedience.
And, the people cry out, “That’s not fair!”
God’s reply, “What’s my name?” God.
“What’s your name?” Child of God.
What are the benefits of our partnership?
Life, heaven, peace, patience, joy, kindness, love, self-control, etc.
What are the responsibilities?
Have faith.
Believe in Jesus. Who He is. What He came to do.
Then, in the relationship w/ God that is established at faith, obey the commands.


The Big Picture

See the big picture. From the beginning to the end.
God will ultimately re-establish people in the new earth and it will be a lot like what it could have been in Eden.
Hang on. Don’t give up or give in.
The plan has been in place and in motion for a long time and won’t stop until it’s fulfilled.

The Cycle

God set people up to thrive.
Established a working rel.
Wickedness takes over.
God deals w/ the wickedness.
God sets ppl up again.
Chooses a person or small grp of ppl to re-est. the working relationship.
Do your part to not let evil take over.
The HS indwells you. He teaches, counsels, guides you.
Let God renew your mind so that you can know what choices God would make for you and you can make them for yourself.


This is the 1st Sunday, communion.
Every time we do this remember what God has done what He has done.
Remember the covenants, the partnership, the working relationship you have w/ God.
Eden, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NIV
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Freed from the grip and strength of wickedness.
In a personal and working relationship w/ God.
That has many benefits and only one responsibility.
God, from creation, established a partnership w/ people, a working relationship.
The partnership is real, but definitely not equal.
God does not need us.
That said, He gives us the opportunity to have responsibility and reap benefits in His program.
God creates, we participate.
All we have to do is believe in Him and the program.
He tells us what to do, how to do it, gives the specific abilities to get it done, then, rewards us for the successful accomplishment.
He tells us what to do, how to do it, gives the specific abilities to get it done, then, rewards us for the successful accomplishment.
We don’t deserve the opportunity.
But then, He rewards us for using what He gave us to do what He tells us.
There are many benefits and only one responsibility to our partnership w/ God. All we have to do is believe.
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